Rustic Pathways | Mongolia

Video and Photos


Our programs work with nomadic communities in the Tavan Bogd mountain region, where villagers still live in traditional gers, circular buildings constructed of a wooden lattice and sheep felt. Mongolia has the lowest population density of any country in the world (there are just 3.2 people per square mile) and more horses than humans. Most Mongolians learn to ride horseback at a young age, and some ethnic groups still use trained golden eagles for hunting.

Travel to Mongolia and reconsider your definition of rustic. You may lack showers and clean clothes, but you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring surroundings. Mongolia’s nomadic culture and expansive, untouched landscapes appeal to the hardiest of travelers and the most determined of adventurers.

Questions & Answers


based on 5 reviews
  • Impact 9.6
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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I had an amazing time on the trip to Mongolia and met some lifelong friends. We spent most of our time staying in gers in more remote villages, but we spent multiple nights in a guest house called the Lotus, which I really enjoyed. The highlight of the trip for me was the Buddhist temple or the camel riding. I enjoyed the temple because it was unlike anything I’ve seen before and I enjoyed the camel riding because I like animals

Yes, I recommend this program

Off The Map: Mongolia

I think I can speak for everyone who went on this trip, in saying that we had an amazing time, and we all had so much fun doing it. We were able to see things that people will rarely get a chance to see, experiencing new cultures, and the landscapes they have settled in. Future trip goers will be astonished by the rugged landscapes, and learn from the people who live in them. I wish I could stay there longer and would love to go back.

How can this program be improved?
More time out in the West, and less in UB. I felt that we did not need all the time at the beginning and the end of the trip in UB.
Yes, I recommend this program
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This program taught me that I can mentally over come anything. When it's cold, you haven't showered for 15 days, you wear the same pants and shirt for 3 weeks, and eat the same thing everyday, you start to learn what you truly find happiness in. Not only do you learn about yourself, but you learn to truly love yourself for who you are, good and bad.

How can this program be improved?
Less down time.
Yes, I recommend this program
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The Land of Sunny Skies

This trip was one of the most amazing trips I've ever been on. The staff did an amazing job of making it fun and meaningful. They did an amazing job of always keeping us engaged in our activities and getting us to open up to each other. I really connected with all of the other people on trip thanks to the nightly activities that the staff did. I loved the long road trips and all the hiking. A large portion of the trip was horseback riding through the Mongolian countryside, and it was so beautiful. Seeing all of the amazing sights on horseback is a memory that I really cherish. If I could do this trip again I would in a heartbeat.

How can this program be improved?
more preparation for the service we did. We taught English in an orphanage/school, and talking about what we were going to do, and what lessons we should teach would have been nice.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Off the Map: Mongolia

I traveled with Rustic Pathways in the summer of 2013 on their Off the Map: Mongolia program and felt thoroughly impacted, inspired, and changed by the experience. It was a one of a kind experience that was by no stretch of the imagination glamorous- we spent most of the trip traveling in a Soviet era van or on horseback, and living with nomadic, traditional families- but it was authentic, and left me feeling fascinated by the country, people and culture. The best part for me was meeting and experiencing the hospitality of Mongolian nomads, who were happy to share their way of life with us foreigners. When we arrived at one family's ger camp in a rain storm, they welcomed us into their family ger for the night, preventing us from having to set up our tents in the rain. The ger- a one roomed, sturdy tent-like structure that is probably smaller than your bedroom, made up their house and living quarters in entirety, but they were kind enough to share this personal space with us- complete strangers. Overall, I would recommend this trip to anyone who is adventurous, and interested in learning about a completely different way of life. It will challenge your understanding of "happiness", and will leave you fascinated with this beautiful country.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing that made me sad about this program is that it wasn't longer... I wanted to stay the entire summer! It would be cool to offer a homestay option.
Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Alumni

About Rustic Pathways

Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on...